SULPHUR — Barbe shoved across six runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth on its way to an 8-1 Class 5A semifinal triumph over West Monroe, Sunday afternoon in the LHSAA Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Baseball Classic.
Ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 nationally by MaxPreps, the Bucs (39-3) advance to face the Sam Houston-Parkway winner Tuesday night.
West Monroe, the No. 5 seed, closed out the season 27-12.
“We over-achieved in my eyes all year long,” West Monroe coach Wade Simoneaux. “We were short-handed pitching-wise, and we knew it. We eliminated some good teams to get here. I wish we could have won this game and played for the state championship, but the bottom line is we have to get better.”
West Monroe had its chances against Barbe, stranding nine runners.
“We out-hit them, but hits don’t win ballgames,” said Simoneaux, whose team held a 7-6 edge in the hits column.
Trailing 2-1, the Rebels got trapped in the floodwaters in the sixth.
Ben David walked and Bryce Larocca reached on a throwing error off of a bunt to put runners at the corners. Back to the top of the order two outs later, seven straight batters reached before the third out was recorded.
Quinn was intentionally passed to fill the bases before Kyle DeBarge walked to force in the Bucs’ third run.
“We got the second out and it was still 2-1,” Simoneaux said. “We walked (Quinn) to get the matchup we wanted to get out of the inning. Then, the bases-loaded walk kind of started the merry-go-round. Next thing you know, it’s 8-1. Good teams can do that to you.”
Batting behind DeBarge, Davis Meche clubbed a three-run double to right field, bringing the score to 6-1. Brody Drost and David continued the onslaught with run-scoring singles.
Quinn started the scoring with one swing of the bat, unleashing a two-out rocket off the right-center scoreboard for a 1-0 Barbe lead in the third.
West Monroe plated the equalizer in the fifth, and had a chance for more.
Carson Jones, representing the top of the batting order, slid into second with a one-out double to left-center. After Josh Pearson was purposely walked, Chase DeJean chased Barbe starter Isaac Duplechain with an RBI single to left.
Summoned from first base, left-hander Drost kept the damage to a minimum when DeBarge started an inning-ending 5-3 double play.
Barbe quickly reclaimed the lead, 2-1, in the home portion of the fifth.
Bailey Juneau lined a leadoff base hit to center and Quinn was plunked by a pitch. West Monroe catcher Blaine Holloway then tracked down a popped up bunt in front of the backstop for the first out. Both runners advanced a station on the double steal to put runners at second and third with one out. A couple of pitches later, second baseman Tom Biggs made an over-the-shoulder grab on Meche’s fly ball to shallow right field. Juneau dashed home without a throw as Biggs slipped while making the catch.
Barbe showed off its defensive prowess to hold the Rebels scoreless in the sixth.
Cayden Pierce coaxed a seven-pitch, leadoff walk. With sophomore righty Jack Walker replacing Drost on the bump, the Bucs turned their third double play (shortstop Meche to second baseman Juneau to first baseman Drost).
Moments later, left fielder Bryce Laroca made a tumbling catch for the third out.
Duplechain went 4.1 innings for the win, allowing one run (earned) on six hits while striking out six and walking one. Barbe’s bullpen of Drost, Walker and Dawson Alexander combined to hold the Rebels scoreless on one hit over the final 2.2 frames.
Meche wielded the big stick for the Bucs, going 2-for-2 with a double, a single, a sac fly and four RBIs. Quinn homered and Drost, Davis and Juneau singled.
Pearson and DeJean supplied two singles apiece for the Rebels, Jones doubled and Zach Martin and Holloway contributed base hits.
West Monroe starter Lane Little (8-3) yielded two runs (both earned) on three hits in four innings before giving way to Case Roark and Jones.